shower (highly optional)
wake up kids,
get them out the door,
walk dog (what?!)
get spouse out the door
get self out the door
work till someone needs you again
pick up all the people,
also the groceries, (crap! What’s for dinner?)
drive around town to all the therapies
head back home to shove food into people’s faces (that they probably won’t eat)
hope they go the f** to sleep at a reasonable hour so that you can collapse into bed too.
Part of this is just life with Small Humans and Orchids.
But a lot of it is the way in which we’re socialized to expect that life has to be this way.
That we have to manage everything.
That we have to manage everything on our own.
That we have to manage everything on our own while wearing pants and a smile.
That we have to manage everything on our own while wearing pants and a smile and while bringing home baked cookies to the event that we agreed to chair.
Pause. Breathe. (Seriously – breathe!)
It’s not true.
We DON’T have to do any of those things.
Those things are OPTIONAL.
But they don’t feel optional, do they?
When our kids receive a diagnosis of some kind, we spring into action. We hire therapists, we look for schools, we re-arrange schedules and priorities.
We gather a team around our child to nurture and support them in achieving their potential.
What if we did the same for ourselves?
What if our diagnosis is Overworked Parent of an Orchid Child along with a secondary diagnosis of Overworked Child of an Aging Parent. (Don’t forget the Overworked Parent of Dandelion Children and Overworked Spouse).
Who would you assemble for a person with this diagnosis? Let’s daydream for a second.
Highly qualified child care provider who understands both Orchid Kids and Dandelion Kids
Highly qualified adult care provider who understands the unique concerns of older adults
Highly qualified coach or therapist to talk to when we need to cut through mental chatter
House manager, in the form of Chef, house cleaner and shopper
Loyal group of friends who understand what you’re going through.
Anyone else? Add them now.
How would your life feel if you had all of that? What would change? What wouldn’t?
Look at this list and feel the feeling that you feel if you had all of that support.
Breathe it in: you are fully supported and have everything you need. Take as long as you need here.
Here’s a kicker:
While you might not be able to give yourself all (or any) of those actual people, what you CAN give yourself RIGHT NOW is moments of the feeling of support and peace.
This is a mind-bender, I know. And here’s what I’m NOT saying.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have all the help we need.
I’m not saying that major societal shifts aren’t needed – they are: write the letters, call the congresspeople, join the protests to advocate for change in the care economy.
But what I am saying is that we are permitted to give ourselves the feeling of rest and peace no matter what else is going on.
Our brains are that powerful.
So, definitely assemble your care squad – the group of friends that you bitch to, the part-time babysitter who gives you an hour off from time to time, the meal service that you’ve decided to try for a little while.
And when you assemble your care squad, put yourself and your brain on the list.
If you want help creating a care squad (for yourself or your child), coaching is a great way to do that. We offer 1:1 sessions at Raising Orchid Kids for parents who are feeling overwhelmed and defeated by their schedules, their children’s needs and their own brains. Email email@example.com for more information.
PS – remember that feeling you had in the middle of reading this email? You can have that ANYTIME you want. xo